Elaine Clare Geisz, 53, taught math, was middle school assistant principal

April 07, 2001|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Elaine Clare Geisz, a mathematics teacher and former assistant principal, died Tuesday of complications from a blood clot and heart attack at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. She was 53 and lived in Phoenix.

Mrs. Geisz had taught algebra to eighth-grade pupils at the Bryn Mawr School since September.

She began her career in Baltimore County schools in the early 1970s and was an assistant principal at Stemmers Run, Hereford and Old Court middle schools. She had taught earlier at Pikesville Middle School and at Dumbarton Middle School in Rodgers Forge, where she was the math department chairwoman.

"She was a consummate professional," said Carolyn Helfman, associate head of Bryn Mawr. "She had great expertise and a sensitive heart. The combination made her a winning teacher and a supportive colleague."

Remembered as an advocate for pupils, parents and teachers, she once detected that an eighth-grader at Stemmers Run Middle School was smoking and having trouble breaking the habit. She gained his confidence by holding his cigarettes so he couldn't smoke during class hours and gave him candy to help stop tobacco cravings.

At the end of the day, she returned the cigarettes and urged him to keep trying to break the habit.

"She was firm but fair - when she had to punish a kid, they accepted her punishment with dignity. She did things for us as teachers - and we worshipped her. She made us develop our potential," said Maria Seibert, a Stemmers Run teacher. "I've seen many parents hug her."

"She was child-oriented. She worked with special education students - and their parents - helped with their coordination into the school. She was a patient person," said Kim Lovo, the secretary-bookkeeper at Hereford Middle School in Monkton. "She was a kind and generous friend."

Born in Baltimore, Elaine Clare Tomko was reared in Essex and graduated from Kenwood High School. She received an undergraduate degree from Towson University and a master's degree in special education from Western Maryland College. She also took postgraduate courses at Loyola College.

In her free time, she exercised by walking throughout her neighborhood and riding a bike along the Northern Central Trail from Phoenix to Monkton. She also traveled through Europe, Canada and California.

In 1967, she married Steven F. Geisz, who died in 1975. She then wed David Loetell. They were divorced.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, 101 Church Lane, Cockeysville, where she was a member. She was also associated with St. John Roman Catholic Church in Long Green.

She is survived by a son, Steven F. Geisz II of Oswego, N.Y.; a daughter, Rachel E. Geisz of Baltimore; and a brother, Joseph Tomko Jr. of Baltimore.

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